Take serious action, don’t try to protect errant cops: HC

Taking note of the fact that usually in cases wherein accused is a policeman, the department doesn't probe the matter seriously, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court recently pulled up the Maharashtra Police force.

A Bench of Justices Tanaji Nalawade and Mukund Sewlikar has ordered the Commissioner of Police, Aurangabad city to personally look into the probe status of a hit-and-run case.

The Bench was dealing with a plea regarding the improper probe being conducted in the hit and run case, wherein a motorist was mowed down by a police sub-inspector (PSI).

The plea highlighted the improper probe by the Aurangabad city police in the case, especially because of the fact that the accused was a police officer.

Having perused the material on record, the judges noted that the police didn't record the panchnama of the car's seizure. It noted that because there was no panchnama, the statements of the eyewitnesses that a grey car dashed the motorist, couldn't be verified.

"It appears that there are allegations that a PSI was driving the four-wheeler at the relevant time. Even when there are allegations against the police officer, no seriousness is shown by the investigating team," Justice Nalawade noted.

The Bench further cautioned the state police to be more careful in such cases.

"This court has no hesitation to observe that when there are allegations against some person of the department, more care needs to be taken by the investigating officer and such officer needs to be always above the board," the judges observed.

"Such an officer is not expected to protect the person of his own department but he needs to be more serious as the image of the department is involved in such matters," the Bench added.

The judges further noted that the accused PSI had not only dashed the motorist but had also run his four wheeler over the deceased motorist.

"Thus, not only the offence of causing the accident and death was committed, but other offences of not taking care of the deceased and not informing to the police about the incident are also committed by the accused," the Bench noted.

The Bench accordingly ordered a higher level officer, probably the Commissioner of Police, to personally look into the matter and visit the site of the accident. The top cop has further been directed to consider changing the investigating officer of the case and also initiate stringent action against him.

The matter would next be heard on January 5.

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